Pomaikaʻi Lyman shares stories, music from her tutu “Aunty” Genoa Keawe

Pomaikaʻi Lyman shares stories, music from her tutu "Aunty" Genoa Keawe

As a member of the talented musical family, the Keawe ʻohana, Pomaikaʻi Lyman is carrying on the musical traditions of her grandmother, legendary Hawaiian singer "Aunty" Genoa Keawe.

The young mother of four has mastered the "ha'i" style of singing her Tutu was known for and is sharing tales about the music, her childhood memories and more with Talk Story.

Papakolea Community Park was the singer's home away from home when growing up. Now, she has teamed up with others in the community to create a special place for her kids and neighbors to enjoy.

"We hold all kinds of community gatherings (and) The Papakolea Paina is one of them," said Lyman. "A couple years back I had this vision. I had the honor of being crowned Mrs. Hawaii International. But, I also felt it was important to come back home and acknowledge my upbringing. I've always had this vision of the basketball court being used as a big luau gathering space. Not for an anniversary or a birthday but a community celebration. Just for no other reason than community. Music by tons of entertainers blaring throughout the valley. And it happened."

Lyman says music was a part of her upbringing early on, thanks to her grandmother.

"Tutu always had ukulele laying around the house when we were younger. I picked it up when I was old enough to pick up an instrument, maybe four or five years old, and I learned to play my first song at five years old."

"Aunty" Genoa not only had a major influence of Lyman's upbringing, she shared her aloha with everyone around her.

"She (Genoa) definitely had that touch of being able to reach out to people feeling like she genuinely loved and cared for them and that was important. She could look into their eyes and they could just feel and know that she loved them. In an effort to remember her, my dad came up with the idea to start an organization called the Genoa Keawe Foundation. We do things like go out and play music for the kupuna. We'll go into the hospitals and play music for the keiki. Providing music as a means of healing."

Music runs in the Keawe family and Lyman’s oldest daughter Mālie is continuing the legacy.

Talk Story: Pomaikaʻi Lyman part 2

"She would always come with me to the gigs from when she was in a car seat. I would put her behind on the stage and I would start my gig and she wouldn’t make a peep. She never cried. I could leave her there the whole time. But when she was old enough to stand up and start touching things she would go over to Uncle Alan Akaka’s steel guitar and just try fiddle with it and play around. So, when it was time for me to put her on an instrument I decided that we would try the steel guitar because Uncle Alan was teaching. Three weeks later she’s playing "Henehene Kou `Aka on stage with us. It was amazing. This is just before she turned nine.

About Pomaikaʻi Lyman:

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Pōmaikaʻi Lyman began singing Hawaiian music in 9 th grade , when she was selected to be a musician for the Holokū program at Punahou School; a cultural tradition at her high school alma mater. Lyman continued on to graduate from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After returning home from BYU, she married local boy Shane Lyman and together they have 4 children (Mālie-15, Iosepa-14, Ziona-12, Enosa-11).

As a young girl, Lyman was able to learn and develop the unique style of “haʻi” singing that her “Tutu”, Aunty Genoa Keawe, performed. Lyman performs regularly across Hawaii. Passionate about preserving 'ōlelo Hawai for the next generation, she donates much of her time and talent to many non-profit organizations, particularly those relating to the Hawaiian language immersion education community. While she has made several feature appearances on other albums, she has been working on recording a solo album that she hopes to release in the near future. For more information on scheduled performances or for booking, email pkeawelyman@gmail.com.

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